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Reclamation: Sally Hemings, Thomas Jefferson, and a Descendant's Search for Her Family's Lasting Legacy

National Archives Museum
Online

Tuesday, November 16, 2021 - 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. EDT

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Gayle Jessup White, a Black descendant of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings’s family, explores America’s racial reckoning through the prism of her ancestors—both the enslaver and the enslaved. She had long heard the stories passed down from her father’s family, that they were direct descendants of Thomas Jefferson—lore she firmly believed, though others did not. For four decades she researched her connection to Thomas Jefferson to confirm its truth once and for all, and discovered her family lore was correct. In Reclamation she chronicles her remarkable journey to definitively understand her heritage and reclaim it, and offers a compelling portrait of what it means to be a Black woman in America, to pursue the American dream, to reconcile the legacy of racism, and to ensure the nation lives up to the ideals advocated by her legendary ancestor. Author and historian Annette Gordon-Reed will join the author in conversation.

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